Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST / TELEVISION - BILLY GRAHAM Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evan­ge­lis­tic As­so­ci­a­tion, 1 Billy Graham Park­way, Char­lotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the web­site at bil­ly­gra­ham.org

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I re­sent re­li­gious peo­ple who try to tell me how to live. I’ll run my life any way I want to, and I don’t think they have any right to tell me how I ought to live. I don’t bother them, so why should they bother me?

— I.G. DEAR I.G.: It may sur­prise you to learn that some of Je­sus’ strong­est words were directed at so-called re­li­gious peo­ple who de­manded that ev­ery­one fol­low their rules for liv­ing. In re­al­ity, how­ever, they were proud and unlov­ing, and didn’t even fol­low their own rules. Je­sus bluntly said, “On the out­side you ap­pear to peo­ple as right­eous but on the in­side you are full of hypocrisy and wicked­ness” (Matthew 23:28).

Don’t mis­un­der­stand me, how­ever, or con­clude that God doesn’t care how you’re liv­ing — be­cause He does. And the rea­son is be­cause He loves you, and He doesn’t want you to live in a way that’s only go­ing to de­stroy you. The Bi­ble solemnly warns: “There is a way that ap­pears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).

Think of it this way. Sup­pose you were vis­it­ing the Grand Canyon with some friends, and you de­cided to take their pic­ture. But as you backed up to get ev­ery­one into the photo, they re­al­ized you were get­ting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff. What would they do? You know the an­swer: They’d do ev­ery­thing they could to warn you and get you to safety.

The same is true with God. Leav­ing Him out of your life can only lead to ruin — but God loves you, and He will do ev­ery­thing He can to warn you and save you. Don’t turn your back on Him any longer, but re­pent of your sins and open your heart and life to Je­sus Christ to­day.

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